• Published 13th Feb 2015
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Twilight, Good Night - Carapace



To better herself, Luna has studied Twilight's actions and friendship reports. She never expected to find herself under the microscope in turn.

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24: Immortal Counseling

Luna hurried down the hall, her hoofsteps echoed off the high arching castle walls along with those of Erebos and Moondancer as they scrambled to keep up with her longer strides.

She flicked an ear absentmindedly, catching a note of concern in Erebos’ voice as he called out to her. Likely asking her to slow down or wait for them, or perhaps to explain why she was in such a hurry in the first place.

Why did things have to go so wrong? She cursed herself as she turned the corner and continued her trot. Her goal was set, there was only one way to solve her problem.

Talking to Celestia.

Typically, she would have scowled and flicked her tail in irritation. The mere notion of having to go running to her sister’s side for aid like a little filly was just so … so …

Luna sighed and shook her head. No. It wouldn’t do to think like that. Not when she’d managed to make such a spectacular mess of everything.

“I am a fool,” she muttered balefully as she approached the door leading out to the balcony. With any luck, Celestia would still be there, prattling on with Cadence and Shining Armor about whatever-it-was they liked.

Why, oh why did I ever think to do such a silly thing?

The guards saluted her, the Night Guard of the pair opened the door to admit her, bowing as she passed. Luna spared them a nod of thanks, never breaking her stride.

“Tia!” she called before she’d crossed the threshold, a note of panic tinged her voice.

Much to her relief, the trio were still there. Each turned to look in her direction with confusion written plain upon their faces.

She didn’t give them a chance to speak. “Sister, I require your counsel! Immediately, if possible!”

Celestia tilted her head. “What’s the matter, Luna? You should be in Night Court with—” her brows knitted together, her gaze flitted to look over Luna’s shoulder in search of somepony else.

Neither Erebos nor Moondancer were the somepony she was searching for.

“Luna, why isn’t Twilight with you?” Celestia asked. She stood and began to trot around the table toward Luna, confusion gave way to concern. “Is she well?”

“Yes—no—physically, yes.” Luna bit her lip and lowered her gaze, shifting her weight from one hoof to the other. “I believe that I have erred. Rather spectacularly, at that, and have managed to make myself the cause of some distress.” She dared to meet her sister’s eye again, her ears swiveled back to lay against her scalp. “I fear I let my emotions get the better of me and—”

A gentle hoof covered her mouth. “Luna,” Celestia began patiently, “take a deep breath.”

She did so, closing her eyes and taking in air through her nose, holding it a moment, then releasing it slowly.

“Good. Now, I’m going to ask you a question, then remove my hoof. All I want is an answer to this question: is Twilight well?” She removed her hoof as promised.

Luna nodded shyly. “She is distressed, but well.”

“Excellent.” Celestia bid her to join them at the table, guiding her to an open seat at Celestia’s side with a wing. She sat down, folding her hooves in her lap. “Now, what happened? You’ve only been in Court for an hour at most.”

“Not even that,” Shining put in with a note of worry in his voice. Cringing, he hastily added, “Your Highness. Sorry. When it comes to Twily, I get a bit—”

Celestia held up a hoof. “Understandable, Shining, but let’s get our story straight before we go looking for her.”

Laying his ears flat, Shining bowed his head. “Yes, Princess.”

Cadence laid a hoof upon his shoulder and offered a comforting smile before she turned to face Luna, her ears perked up straight, ready to listen.

Luna shifted in her seat. Three sets of eyes fell upon her, all belonging to ponies who held Twilight dear to their hearts.

Her mouth ran dry. “I, er, well, we were discussing Werner. Yes, that is what we started doing, and we were doing that quite a bit, and things were going just find. Splendid, even.” She paused, a low whine escaped her lips as she thought back to how well their conversation had been going. Her hooves leapt to either side of her head, pulling at her mane. “Oh, would that I could go back and prevent it! Sister, thou share blood with a fool! A fool, I say!”

“Luna,” Celestia chided. “Calm down. Breath.”

She obeyed, screwing her eyes shut as she sucked in another breath. Then another.

With each breath, the tension seemed to leave her, the weight on her shoulders slackened.

“Better?”

She opened her eyes. “Somewhat.”

“Excellent.” A gold-shoed hoof touched hers, caressing gently. “Now, tell us. What happened?”

Luna bit her lip. Her eyes flitted from Celestia to Cadence to Shining Armor and back again.

Her wings began to unfurl as if to hide her face. With each time she made to speak, her gaze went to the young couple again.

Cadence sat up a bit straighter, then gave a nod. “If you don’t feel comfortable with us here, we can leave,” she offered, holding up a hoof to forestall any objections Shining might have. “We understand, don’t we, Shining?”

The lone stallion at the table flinched from her pointed stare. “O-Of course,” Shining said. “I mean, we could always go check up on Twily and make sure she’s okay after … the whatever it was that happened in Night Court.”

Luna stayed silent a moment, the memory of the kiss she’d shared with Twilight flashed before her eyes. She needed help setting things right, and Celestia was the one pony she could trust more than her friend. But matters of the heart were not her domain.

Only one mare could lay claim to that.

“Cadenza—Niece—Confound it! Cadence!” Luna gritted her teeth. Frustration burned within her chest. She pointed a hoof at the startled princess and asked, “Your primary domain is love, yes? Matters of the heart, courtships, and the like?”

Blinking, Cadence gave another nod. “Love, sexuality, and romance, yes. My primary domain covers all three. What does that have to do with why … wait a minute!” Slowly, a broad, toothy grin spread across her muzzle. With an excited gasp, she leapt up and placed her forehooves on the table. She unfurled her wings, nearly cuffing Shining over the head as she fluffed and fluttered her feathers. “Tell me everything!”

Luna leaned back, eyeing her niece’s near manic grin with no shortage of apprehension. She glanced out of the corner of her eye to Celestia in search of support.

Instead, her sister cast a meaningful look between Luna and Cadence, then raised her hooves and shook her head as if to say “don’t look at me.”

She had just stepped in Cadence’s domain, without her sister as a lifeline.

A small part of her thought to flee to the safety of her tower, but the more pragmatic side reminded her that she needed help if she was to set things right between Twilight and herself.

With a sigh, Luna settled into her seat and began recounting the night’s events.


When Celestia and Luna were fillies, their mother told them time and time again that the sweetest treats were the ones they had to wait for the longest. Waiting always made the anticipation build to its peak, almost torturous in how long it seemed until they could savor the delicious treats she made for them.

As Luna had come to learn, waiting also gave the chef a chance to perfect their dish. Or, in her case, the artist to craft the most beautiful piece their mind could conjure.

A thousand years of solitude on the moon as punishment for her actions as Nightmare Moon left her wanting for many things: warmth, companionship, friends, the love of her subjects, love itself. Every second she spent alone would make those all the more meaningful when she returned.

The kiss with Twilight confirmed it.

Time seemed to slow, Luna didn’t even dare to breath as she kept her lips pressed against Twilight’s. Warmth, the scent of dusty books and biting iron, Twilight’s sleek coat brushing against her forelegs.

Everything about her.

So precious. So sweet.

Her mother had been right all those years ago.

Luna let her hooves wander to cup the back of Twilight’s head, her wings trailed soft feathers up the mare’s sides, tracing a path to her shoulders and back down to her ribs.

She tilted her head a bit more and parted her lips to draw succulently on Twilight’s.

Her ears flicked as Twilight gasped into the kiss and let out a tiny hum. Luna froze, hesitating as she tried to gauge her next move.

Luna felt her heart race, she could feel Twilight’s beating against her chest.

Seconds passed between them until a pair of trembling hooves wrap around her, coming to a rest just beneath her wing joints.

Twilight’s breath washed over her face. She felt the mare tilt her head and part her lips, mimicking her moves like an inexperienced lover.

She likely was. But she was young, only recently an adult. There was plenty of time for her to learn about love.

No need to rush into things.

They parted all too soon for her taste, a pang of pain went through her chest. A thousand years of waiting hadn’t prepared her after all.

Luna held Twilight close, her breaths came in short gasps. Her heart raced as though she’d just flown through Ghastly Gourge, but as she looked at Twilight, she felt so very alive.

She moved her hooves to cup Twilight’s cheeks, smiling as she held her close enough to nuzzle. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach; she had let her emotions guide her, the old muse that used to drive her to paint and craft the night sky or give blessings to the artists of old had returned to her at long last.

Twilight had brought her back again.

Slowly, Twilight’s eyelids began to open. She released a shuddering breath, blinking as she tried to uncross her eyes. “I-I …” she stammered.

Luna seized her chance. “You,” she began, drawing close to kiss the end of her snout before continuing, “are more precious to me than you could possibly know. So much more than I could ever put to words, my—”

Friend?

She wasn’t quite certain. As the foals might say, the ball was in Twilight’s court now. All she could do was wait.

Twilight’s eyes went wide, her breathing quickened. She laid her ears flat against her scalp and drew back, slipping from Luna’s grip. “I—you—me—kiss—your?!” Her chest heaved as she gave way to panic. She looked to the door, Luna, and back again. Then, she began to fidget, squirming as though to escape a confined space.

Luna released her embrace. A pang of regret pierced through her heart. “Twilight?” She made to reach out for her, but stopped herself short, withdrawing it instead. “You are trembling,” she noted. “Have I upset you?”

“Upset me?” Twilight repeated, almost incredulous in her tone. “You kissed me!”

Wincing, Luna nodded. “I did, yes.” She folded her wings tight against her sides, a hoof wandered to rub at her shin. “I have upset you, then.”

She watched as Twilight goggled at her, jaw hanging low and working wordlessly.

Stunned. Luna had startled Twilight to the point where words failed her.

Luna let her shoulders slump. She hung her head low a moment, silently cursing herself before glancing up at her friend’s face. She had to right the wrong she’d done.

“If you wish to leave, I will not take offense,” Luna said.

Twilight blinked and shook her head. “What?”

“I have acted without thinking,” she continued. “In doing so, I failed to take your feelings into account. If you would like to leave my Court and take time to yourself, I understand entirely.”

“It’s not—I mean, yes, this is all so—you—” Twilight caught herself. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, bringing her hoof to her chest as she inhaled. After a moment, she released it, pushing out with her hoof as she opened her eyes. “Yes. Yes, I think I would like to take some time to wrap my head around … everything.”

Luna nodded again, then stood and turned away to hide her face. “Go, then. Have a pleasant evening, and enjoy—” she bit back the words. “Goodnight, Twilight Sparkle.”

Silence hung thick over the pair. Then, the clip-clop of hooves against the floor, trotting away from her. Luna pinned her ears back to muffle the sound, her heart sank with each step.

Then, the steps stopped. Softly, barely above a whisper, she heard Twilight call back to her.

“Goodnight, Luna.”


“… And then I came to you,” Luna said, slumping in her seat. “T’is not my intent to be a bother, even less to ruin your evening, but—”

“It’s fine, Auntie,” Cadence cut in. She smiled and clapped her hooves together. “I’m actually quite happy you figured it out! I thought I would have to start scheming ways to get you to understand how you felt!”

Shining Armor’s ears twitched, he turned to fix her with an incredulous stare. “Wait. You knew she was—but she only talked to us about being Twily’s friend!”

Cadenced heaved a long-suffering sigh. “Shiny, Shiny, Shiny,” she said, shaking her head. She reached up and tussled his mane, earning a heated glare. “How many times do I need to remind you that I’ve been watching ponies fall in and out of love since long before you were born, dearest?”

He wrinkled his snout. “I mean, when you put it like that …”

“I think we may be getting a bit off track,” Celestia said, a smile playing upon her lips. She rubbed her hoof softly over Luna’s, comforting her just like she had when they were fillies. “Are you worried I’ll be upset?” she asked.

Luna turned away and let her ears droop. Her throat tightened, betraying her as she tried to force herself to speak.

“I see.” Celestia hummed to herself. “And you’re afraid that you’ve upset Twilight to the point she won’t want to spend time with you anymore?”

Biting her lip, Luna screwed her eyes shut and nodded.

The sound of chair legs scraping against marble floor made her flick an ear. She glanced out of the corner of her eye to find Shining Armor rising from his seat.

“I’ll go check on Twily,” he said. His eyes flitted to Luna, then softened. “I don’t think you’ll have to worry about losing her as a friend, Prin—Luna. But if I know Twily, she’s gonna be wrestling with a lot of what ifs and all the worst-case scenarios her mind can conjure up right now.” He paused as if to think a moment, adding, “If it’s all the same, I wouldn’t be upset if you two did get together. But I do have to look out for her.”

“I … yes, I understand,” Luna replied. She let out a deep sigh and shook her head. “Go to her, ensure that she is well.”

Shining bowed his head and turned to leave, stopping to offer a deeper bow to Celestia—his princess by duty—and a kiss to Cadence’s cheek.

Instead, Cadence rose to stand with him. “I’ll go too. She’ll need a couple ponies she knows.”

“Thank you both,” Celestia said. “Enjoy the rest of your evening.” As the pair left, she turned to Luna once more. “Now about your concerns toward me.”

Luna offered a sheepish smile. “Twilight is your student, no matter how much I might playact that I design to steal her away from you.”

“I would almost like to see you try.” Celestia snorted in amusement. “Yes, I’m more than aware you’ve only been teasing. I’ve not grown so old that I could ever forget how my little sister loved to play her tricks on me. I would venture to say that I’ve learned to play your game quite well over the course of the past thousand years.”

“Too well,” she muttered.

“Perhaps. But, we’re getting off topic. Your worries are … unfounded, Lulu.”

Her head snapped up, Luna regarded Celestia with a look of utmost confusion, earning a frown in return.

“Were you expecting me to be surprised?” Celestia asked, a teasing note in her tone. “I may not have Cadence’s eye for romantic attraction, but if I were to place bets on the pony you might try to get together with so soon after your return, Twilight would be the first name to come to mind.” Her lips tugged into a smile. “You’ve become rather transparent in that regard. Or perhaps that’s just me having looked back on all those years and picked up on certain things I’d missed before.”

Tutting to herself, Celestia shook her head. “That’s for later, though. You worry that I’m going to forbid you from seeing Twilight again, yes?”

Luna flinched. “I am. Quite a bit, actually. She is … yours.”

Celestia stayed silent a moment, her smile fell from her face. “In the past, I might have taken offense at you flirting with one of my favored ponies. However—” she sniffed. “—I’ve outgrown my more prideful days. If this is what you want, I won’t stop you.”

“T-Truly?” Luna stammered, fighting back a smile.

“You have my word.” Before Luna could thank her, Celestia held up a hoof. “On one condition, though.”

“Of course. Name it.”

A hoof cupped her cheek and slowly turned it until her eyes met Celestia’s. Soulful purple bored into her very being.

“I want you to be careful,” Celestia said. “For both of your sakes. Your feelings matter as much as hers, and both of you are precious to me. I don’t want her hurt and—” she bit her lip, her eyes flitted away.

But not before Luna saw the pain in them.

Celestia took in a breath through her nose. “I can’t lose you again, Lulu. And I can’t lose her either. You are my sister and she is …”

Luna brought her hoof up to touch Celestia’s, pulling it down until she could hold it against her chest.

The sisters sat together in silence under the soft light of the moon and the twinkling stars. No words were needed for family so old and close.

You won’t lose either of us. And I will take care.

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